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What Are Social Skills in Children? - Development, Definition & Teaching Techniques

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  • 0:00 What Are Social Skills?
  • 0:55 Social Development
  • 1:44 Teaching Strategies
  • 5:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jade Mazarin

Jade is a board certified Christian counselor with an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a certification in Natural Health. She is also a freelance writer on emotional health and spirituality.

In this lesson, we will define social skills and their development during childhood years. We will also go over why social skills are so important for children, and what strategies are used to teach them.

What Are Social Skills?

Social skills are ways of dealing with others that create healthy and positive interactions. Children who have social skills can communicate clearly, calmly, and respectfully. They show consideration for the feelings and interests of their peers. They take responsibility for their actions, are able to control themselves, and are able to assert themselves when needed. Children learn social skills through experiences with peers, examples and instructions from their parents, and time with adults.

It is vital for children to use social skills because they are the route to creating and developing relationships. They are needed for enriching social experiences, and they lessen the chance for negative interactions. Being the building blocks for friendships, social skills give children the chance to learn from their peers and learn how to be considerate with those they meet in the future. By having a positive impact on life experiences, social skills also give children a sense of confidence and mastery over their environment.

Social Development

Children come into the world immediately relying on others. Several months after their birth, they begin to be aware of themselves as individuals, with personal wants and needs. They are also bonding with their family, prefer them over strangers, and feel anxious when they are separated. Infants may watch other infants at a distance, but once entering preschool, are given their first opportunities for similar-age social interactions.

This is also the time when children slowly become accustomed to separating from their parents. Over the next couple of years, children begin recognizing the desires and feelings of other children. They are given the chance to learn how to see things from another perspective and to take turns, as well as compromise. When development goes as it should, and children are instructed accurately, they continue growing their social skills.

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